On Saturday, Sept. 15, the Beaches Summer Fest 2012 took place on a perfect late summer night complete with cool breezes and wonderful company. As mentioned in the preview article on the event last week, beer people are innately generous and the organizers of this great event are no exceptions. Proceeds from the event benefitted the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) and based on mere observation, it looks like the charity can expect a rather large contribution.
The event showcased a virtual who’s who of the Jacksonville brewing scene. There were breweries, vendors, distributors, and beer celebrities all in attendance.
All five local Jacksonville breweries were represented at the event including:
Intuition Ale Works with their I-10 IPA and Triad Belgian-style Tripple
Pinglehead Brewing with Landslide Double IPA and Moon Dance Oatmeal Stout
Bold City Brewing with 1901 Red Ale and Rhino Rye Pale Ale
Green Room Brewing with Pablo Beach Pale Ale and Cherry Key Lime Wit
Engine 15 with Old Battle Axe and JamMin Jasmine Saison
But local breweries were not the only breweries in attendance. Also present were Swamp Head Brewery from Gainesville, St. Somewhere Brewing from Tarpon Springs, and the new kid on the block Three Palms Brewing from Tampa. Another fine brew being poured at the event by Eric Jankowski of Micro Man Distributors was Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat.
While beer is always a major draw at these events, the food at this one was nothing less than spectacular as well. There was truly something for everyone ranging from fine cheeses presented by Grassroots Natural Market to sinful desserts created by Alley Cakes. Highlights included fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs with chipotle-strawberry barbecue sauce from The Perfect pair Catering Company, The Tree Hugger hummus wrap from On the Fly Sandwiches & Stuff, and Gator Burgoo from Brewer’s Pizza. Also providing food for the event was Ocean 60 Restaurant who brought Grouper Ceviche.
Another aspect of the evening was the adventurous and toe-tapping sounds of Firewater Tent Revival. On their Facebook page, the band describes itself as, “Punk rockers gone rogue. Now we are a knee slapping beer drinking good time band. We play eclectic bluegrass and old country drinking songs.” They certainly had the room jumping. And for those looking for mellower sounds the duo of Paxton and Mike entertained folks on the outdoor deck with their acoustic stylings.
The event also featured an impressive array of items up for silent auction including an extremely rare 11.5 ounce bottle of Westvleteren 12 Trappist Ale that, at last look, was going for $100. Other items included beer company mirrors and signs, a Long Board branded bicycle and surfboard, gift baskets, experiences, and impressive artwork.
And if all of the beer, food, music, and auction items were not enough to keep you entertained, the evening also provided a prime opportunity to see and be seen with Jacksonville’s brew-centric glitterati. Among that group flitting from table to table was the social butterfly Regina Heffington, the Jax Brew Bitch herself. Also spotted was Michael Payne of the soon-to-be-opened Aardwolf Brewing Company, Steve Rushe owner of Beer Junto, and Ed Stansel of the Times-Union’s Amber Waves beer blog. Susan and John Miller of Bold City Brewing were also spotted roaming the event as was Mark Stillman and Eric Lumen of Green Room Brewing. Bob Sylvester of St. Somewhere made the trek to the event as well, to pour his outstanding Belgian-influenced brews as did Randy Reaver of Three Palms from Tampa.
But, though the event was by all accounts one of the most well-conceived and executed beer events in the area and, judging by the smiles of others and personal experience, a complete and utter blast, it is important to remember that there was a mission behind the celebration. That mission was to raise funds to fight the debilitating disease, muscular dystrophy. To that end Jamie Gillis, one of the event organizers, speaking on behalf of the Beaches Summer Fest Team of 8, said that the event had garnered an, “estimated $18,500 and counting.” This estimate came as of Tuesday, Sept. 18 with contributions still coming in.
Worth noting is that all of the vendors, distributors, caterers, and musicians donated their time to the event. Even the Courtyard by Marriott, at which the event was held, donated its facilities to the cause. This means that every dollar that came in to the event will make its way to the MDA for them to use in their search for a cure with nothing held out and no one to pay.
Keep abreast of plans for next year’s event by following the Beaches Summer Fest page on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/beachessummerfest. You may also continue to make contributions to the cause by going to: http://www2.mda.org/2012beachessummerfest.